By Charmaine Boois
MARIENTAL. 18 August 2023. The age-old debate about the impact of cold weather on economic activity finds a poignant narrative in the story of Malakia Haimbili, a 29-year-old bar owner affectionately known as “Styvo.” His vibrant establishment, Styflyn, has become a beloved part of the community in Donga informal settlement, Oshiwanapenduka area.
Located near the river, Styflyn has earned a reputation as the go-to spot for entertainment, with its charismatic owner taking the stage to entertain patrons himself. “I was unemployed and decided to try something. I started this bar, and now it’s my life, embodied in me,” says Haimbili, a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit.
Since its debut in 2017, Styflyn flourished, garnering a loyal customer base that drove Haimbili’s self-sustaining profitability. However, the unexpected blow of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across industries. While many businesses struggled to survive, the cold winter months introduced a new challenge that jeopardized Styflyn’s existence.
The stark contrast between the bustling summer season and the quiet winter months posed a significant challenge. Styflyn’s location in an area prone to chilly winds worked against it during winter. Despite the emotional toll, Haimbili’s determination remained steadfast. “I kept going, even though it was emotionally draining.” He reflects, “I kept looking for new ways to attract clients.”
To combat the winter blues and keep Styflyn thriving, Haimbili implemented creative strategies, including themed food days and discounted drink offerings. While other establishments in Mariental saw patronage decline, Haimbili’s unwavering efforts ensured that his bar remained a preferred entertainment choice in town.
Yet, Haimbili’s struggle against the winter challenges isn’t unique. Other bars in Mariental share similar experiences, creating a shared bond of understanding. Haimbili stresses the importance of a support system within the town and collaboration among self-employed businesses to collectively overcome the seasonal slump.
As winter comes to an end, Styflyn’s customers are returning, and Haimbili is eagerly anticipating the annual soccer event. The tournament not only engages the community but also provides unemployed individuals a chance to shine. The winning team receives generous prizes, partly funded by Styflyn’s earnings and Petrofsky Financial Services’ sponsorship.
Beyond the bar, Haimbili’s commitment to community upliftment shines brightly. His dedication to hosting the tournament stems from a desire to bring hope and happiness to those facing challenges. “Besides my business, I am passionate about community activities. That’s why I host such a tournament—to bring smiles and a glimmer of hope to their faces,” Haimbili shares.
As Styflyn continues to be a vital part of the Mariental community, Haimbili extends a heartfelt invitation to potential sponsors to join his mission of supporting the community. In a modest bar by the river, Styflyn transcends being just a bar; it’s a place where stories intertwine, friendships flourish, and a resilient spirit prevails against all odds.
– Namibia Daily News